Aussie Artisan Week: show your support
After a successful launch in 2020, Aussie Artisan Week has returned to continue its support of local artisans and producers. Aussie Artisan Week founders Pierre Issa and Melissa Altman of Pepe Saya Buttery have joined forces with artisans from across the country. They’re encouraging all Australians to consciously choose to support, champion and purchase locally made products, buying direct from local artisans where they can.
Last year’s event saw a passionate foodie community form. It also introduced Australian consumers to a range of artisans and quality products. This year, Aussie Artisan Week aims to help define what being an artisan means. But it also highlights the role these hard-working producers play as essential members of our community.
What is an artisan?
An artisan is defined as someone who does skilled work with their hands. Aussie Artisan Week aims to celebrate how integral they are to our community and to Australian culture. When you buy from local artisans, you’re supporting farmers and small businesses. You’re also helping to build and support your local community. This sense of community has become increasingly important as artisans – and everyday Australians – continue to deal with the restrictions in place due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
Aussie Artisan Week is calling for Australians to support artisans of all kinds, whether they be growers, cheesemongers, bakers, winemakers or picklers. The call to action is simple:
1. Visit your local farmers’ market
2. Shop on your local high street
3. Buy online direct from artisans when you can
The value of community
During the pandemic, many local businesses, including Pepe Saya, have had to transform their operations after on-premises and direct-to-consumer sales dropped dramatically due to the closure of restaurants and markets and restrictive stay-at-home orders.
“The past 17 months have shown the importance and value of community,” Issa says. “Our community has kept us afloat. Not only our customers, but also the incredible producers we work with, or alongside whom we sell our products at farmers’ markets and local stores. From John Fairley at Country Valley Dairy who we buy our cream from and Alex Olsson of Olsson’s Salt [used in Pepe Saya butter] to the producers we’ve collaborated with on our packs and products on our online store, the collaboration and respect in this community is one of a kind. To be completely frank, we wouldn’t be here without them.”
The success of last year’s Aussie Artisan Week demonstrated that a passion for locally made products exists in the Australian community. The founders hope that as the week continues to grow, so too does awareness of and support for artisans throughout the year.
“We’ve realised that Australians really do value Australian-made, and so we want to help people discover more local alternatives as they do their weekly shopping,” says Altman. “We could all do with the reminder to stop a minute before we ‘add to cart’ and think about what we’re buying, where it comes from and who we’re supporting when we buy it.
“People don’t realise the buying power they have. Some simple changes in the weekly grocery shop can make the world of difference to an artisan. Particularly now, when it’s essential for their survival. There’s also a real need to preserve old-world artisan techniques before they’re lost. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”
Spreading the good word
This year, Aussie Artisan Week founders have enlisted other Australian artisans to help them spread the word about the importance of supporting local artisan producers. If they’re in your local area, seek them out and let them know they have your support:
ACT: Ainslie Urban Farm
Qld: Sobah Beverages
Aussie Artisan Week runs from August 16-23. In the lead-up, Aussie Artisan Week will be sharing the stories of other artisans on its Instagram page. The event is also encouraging artisans and supporters to get involved by sharing their artisan-made products and purchases. Just tag @AussieArtisanWeek and use the hashtag #AussieArtisanWeek. Aussie Artisan Week will continue to update its website. It can be used as a discovery platform to find brands getting involved and local farmers’ markets you can visit around the country.